Friday, August 16, 2013

Now Go to the Toilet and Wash Your Head In It

Shalom, chaverim! As summer's end approaches, we're getting into the nitty-gritty of the annual teacher draft season. Phone calls and emails are flying thick and fast. Will I get Door Number One (the Druze school), Door Number Two (the religious girls' school), Door Number Three (some teaching hours at both schools), or--for an extra frisson of excitement--Door Number Four: nothing at all? No one seems to know what's going on, and I have no hours absolutely nailed down at either school. So much depends on a myriad of factors I am personally unable to control: the school budget, the number of tenured teachers looking for work in the district who might have to take precedence over me, the number of students in need of a teacher, and so on. School starts next week in one school, and two weeks from now in the other school, so we'll see what, if anything, shakes down.

Fortunately, if I am unable to get any teaching hours through the public school system, I can always tutor privately (which is far better paid and doesn't require meetings or continuing ed), and do more hours with my narration job or my other job doing contract work for publishers. At the moment, I've just taken on an assignment to write the chapter quizzes for three new college anthropology textbooks. This is a personal triumph, as it is the first time I am specifically earning any money whatsoever solely due to my master's degree in anthropology, which I earned way back in 1996. Jeeze, only an 18 year wait for the first professional nibble of ROI (return on investment) on graduate school? Wow, that was quick!

On my last blog post, I'd mentioned that I'd been spending part of my summer "vacation" attending various medical appointments. One of these appointments was to have an EEG, which I received this week at the excellent local hospital in Nahariya. Although I'd never had an EEG before, I'd had my brainwaves monitored in the past when I'd taken part in some psychology experiments at a university. What I was expecting, therefore, is that the technician would have fitted me with one of those EEG caps, which looks like a swimming cap with a lot of wires sticking out of it. This, however, was not the case. Far from it, in fact.

Oh, Ben Stiller, you dog you!

Instead, the rather surly technician affixed the electrodes to my head and gave me rapid-fire instructions in Hebrew about how to position myself in the chair, and so on.  When I explained that my Hebrew wasn't very good, and asked her to please speak a little more slowly, she gave me a sharp retort that was equally unintelligible. Gradually, I realized that she was speaking to me in Russian. Apparently, she'd asked me to close my eyes, keep still, and keep my head tilted slightly back. Not understanding what she wanted, of course I opened my eyes, turned to her, and shifted my position. She gave me a sharp rebuke in Russian, and I finally just told her, in English, that I spoke English, not Russian.

That linguistic mess straightened out, we proceeded with the test. "You are opening. You are closing. You are not breathe. Now you are breathe," she instructed throughout the procedure. When it was finally done, she removed the electrodes, which had been attached with wads of a sticky substance that seemed to be a cross between white paste and snot. After lazily trying to extract a few globs of this mess, which was stuck in my hair like that classic Cameron Diaz scene in "There's Something About Mary," she got bored and wanted me out of her room, fast.

"Now you go to toilet and wash your head in it," she commanded, and dismissed me immediately.

So I did. Well, I tried to, anyway. What actually happened is that once I got out as much of it as I could in the bathroom, I ended up walking through the entire Nahariya hospital with this crapola all over me. I felt it softening in the hot sun as we trudged to the parking lot, and getting even more disgusting once we got into the hot car to go home. One commemorative photo and a long shower/shampoo session later, it was all over. I get the results next week.

Shabbat shalom, everyone!

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